All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

by Angela Johnson (Author) E B Lewis (Illustrator)

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis.

Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms. Told in Angela Johnson's signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis's striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation's history.


Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

This elegant collaboration by the creators of Lily Brown's Paintings tells of the day that slaves on a Texas plantation learn they are free, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Johnson's graceful poem is narrated by a girl who heads to the cotton fields one June morning with her family and other slaves, unaware "that soon,/ it would all be different." As word spreads, reactions range from serene contemplativeness to elation. Amid the cotton plants, an elderly man cries quietly, several adults bow their heads in prayer, and the girl's mother silently hugs her: "My mama held my hand softly/ and looked beyond,/ as another breeze blew over/ and everything/ fell to a/ hush." Using a lovely, muted palette, Lewis's expressive watercolors convey the impact of the news of freedom, dramatically contrasting the slaves' lives before and after. Initially picturing the slaves toiling "under the hot Texas sun," Lewis later captures their tranquil joy as they gather on a beach in the cool night "as free people." Back matter provides historical context for this powerfully visualized story. Ages 5-9. (May)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 3 Up--Previous picture books about Juneteenth (the holiday celebrating the day slaves were freed in Texas--two years after the rest of the country) have focused on contemporary children discovering this quirk of history. Valerie Wesley's Freedom's Gifts (S. & S., 1997) and Carole Boston Weatherford's Juneteenth Jamboree (Lee & Low, 1995) fall into that category. Johnson imagines what it would be like to be a slave one minute and a free person the next. Spare text, structured as free verse, hones in on the smell of honeysuckle and breakfast routines as the day begins, like any other. The titular phrase appears three times: first to build suspense, then to indicate the earthshaking import of the message spreading from the port, and, finally, to reflect on the consequences. Lewis paints details not mentioned. The protagonist is a girl living in the slave quarters with her siblings and mother. They are working in the cotton fields when the news arrives. Skillful watercolor renderings depict nuanced changes in lighting and focus, thereby capturing individual responses to a community's new reality--from incredulity and quiet contemplation to rapture. Occasional panels indicate passing time; the brilliant clarity of the fields at noon fades to a green-blue gauze over the revelers heading home from a late-night celebration. A time line, glossary, overview, list of websites, and notes by author and illustrator provide deeper understanding. With a narrative notable for its understated simplicity and lack of judgment, this title allows readers to draw their own conclusions. An affecting entree to a challenging conversation.--Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Angela Johnson
Angela Johnson has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, one each for her novels The First Part Last, Heaven, and Toning the Sweep. The First Part Last was also the recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award. She is also the author of the novels Looking for Red and A Certain October. Her books for younger readers include the Coretta Scott King Honor Book When I Am Old with You, illustrated by David Soman; Wind Flyers and I Dream of Trains, both illustrated by Loren Long; and Lottie Paris Lives Here and its sequel Lottie Paris and the Best Place, both illustrated by Scott M. Fischer. Additional picture books include A Sweet Smell of Roses, Just Like Josh Gibson, The Day Ray Got Away, and All Different Now. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. She lives in Kent, Ohio. Visit her at AJohnsonAuthor.com.

Loren Long illustrated President Barack Obama's Of Thee I Sing; the newest version of The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper; Madonna's second picture book, Mr. Peabody's Apples; Nightsong by Ari Berk; Frank McCourt's Angela and the Baby Jesus; Love by Matt de la Peña; and If I Was the Sunshine by Julie Fogliano. He also wrote and illustrated the Otis series and was part of the Design Garage for Jon Scieszka's Trucktown series. Loren's work has appeared in Time, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. He lives with his wife and two sons in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visit him at LorenLong.com.

Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780689873768
Lexile Measure
830L
Guided Reading Level
0
Publication date
May 20, 2014
Series
-
Age Range
5 - 9 years
Georgia Children's Book Award
Finalist 2016
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2015

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